★★★★ | My Last Round

Soon after middle-aged Octavio begins his romance with his young lover Hugo life gets complicated for both of them.

Octavio is told he must give up boxing because he has a medical condition that could cause a brain hemorrhage, and Hugo gets fired from his job as he got the boss’s daughter pregnant. Determined to put this all behind them they take off to Santiago, the nearest big city, to start a new life together.

Octavio gets a gig cutting hair at a traditional barbers shop but as Hugo fails to find work he ends up at home all day feeling sorry for himself. It puts something of a strain on the men’s relationship as both of them feel unfulfilled and unhappy with their lot. It doesn’t improve when Octavio, missing the excitement of the ring, accepts another boxing match, whilst at the same time Hugo, now finally employed, starts to get entangled with his new boss’s daughter.

It turns out that both men quickly regret the new choices that they have made as they were done for all the wrong reasons. In trying to retain their own heavily masculine identities and their independence they inevitably put at risk the one thing that in the end was the more important than all the others i.e. their relationship with each other.

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The fact that this story is about two poor working class Chilean men sets it apart from most gay themed movies and the sheer brutality that prize-fighter Octavio puts himself through in the ring, that is shown here in bloodied detail, is not something we expect to see in a movie which is about a very tender and loving relationship between two very different men. There is a finality to their story which writer/director Julio Jorquera Arriagada makes sure we are aware of with the very poignant opening scenes of a funeral, but he very wisely does not attempt to draw any conclusions. It is very much what is and that is both tough and sad.

Well cast and well acted it’s a tragic love story beautifully told.